President, Julius Maada Bio, marked the International Day of Education on January 24, 2024, by emphasizing the significance of education as a human right. The national event, held under the theme “Learning for Lasting Peace,” took place in Bo City, following last year’s celebration at the Atouga Mini-Stadium east of the capital, Freetown.
The five-day celebration, which commenced on January 22, marked the sixth consecutive year of commemorations. The event brought together students from various schools across the country, government officials, stakeholders in the education sector, and local as well as international partners.
In his address, President Julius Maada Bio reiterated his government’s commitment to recognizing education as a human right, a public good, and a collective responsibility. Reflecting on his own education at Bo Government Secondary School, the President expressed nostalgia and gratitude, attributing his values of discipline, integrity, and purpose to the foundation laid during his school days.
“Education is a journey with no end,” President Bio declared. He highlighted the importance of preserving the communal spirit within the nation, emphasizing the role of communities as educational bastions that shape responsible and productive citizens.
Discussing the theme, “Learning for Lasting Peace,” President Bio stressed the need for a multifaceted approach to education, challenging harmful ideologies, bridging cultural divides, and instilling empathy and understanding in communities.
“Let us reaffirm our dedication to fostering an educational landscape that imparts knowledge and instills values of unity, respect, and empathy,” he urged, emphasizing the pivotal role of education in building a society where every voice is heard, every dream is valued, and every child has the opportunity to succeed.
Mokhlesur Rahman, Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank, commended Sierra Leone’s government for its commitment to education. Rahman described school-going pupils as the future leaders of the nation and expressed optimism that the event would further the government’s vision for quality education. He assured continued support from the World Bank, highlighting ongoing projects focused on education and skills development.
The event featured performances by the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Freetown and the Bo School for the Blind. National, regional, and district awards were presented to outstanding pupils in public examinations, along with recognition for deserving school authorities.